Everything you wanted to know about Stainless Steel Cookware
Best Stainless Steel Cookware
- Dalstrong 10" Frying Pan & Skillet from the Oberon Series
- Dalstrong 6 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set from the Oberon Series
- Dalstrong 12 Quart Stockpot from the Oberon Series
- Dalstrong 12" Sauté Frying Pan (Hammered Finish Silver) from the Avalon Series
- Dalstrong 6-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set from the Avalon Series
- Information About Stainless Steel
- Food Grade Stainless Steel
- Benefits Of Using Stainless Steel Cookware
- What To Look For When Buying Stainless Steel Cookware
- How Do I Make A Stainless Steel Pan Non-Stick?
- How To Season Stainless Steel Cookware
- How To Clean Stainless Steel Cookware
- Stainless Steel Cookware Recommendations
- Frequently Asked Questions
Stainless steel is one of the most common materials used today to manufacture cookware, flatware, utensils, appliances, and many more kitchen items. If you look around your kitchen right now, you’re probably going to find several things made of stainless steel.
But why is it so popular? And how is it different (or better?) than other materials? Let’s take you through everything you wanted to know about stainless steel but were afraid to ask.
1. Information About Stainless Steel
In short: Stainless steel is an alloy containing at least 10.5% chromium as well as other elements, usually nickel, carbon, copper, silicon, manganese, molybdenum, nitrogen, and sulfur.
It all started in the 20th century when Harry Brearley discovered that by adding a certain amount of chromium to an alloy, the resulting metal would be very resistant to corrosion and rust. Improvements and applications began soon after that.
The term “stainless steel” actually applies to several different alloys, but there is one non-negotiable characteristic that they all share: a minimum percentage of 10.5% chromium.
Today, stainless steel is one of the most common materials we stumble upon in our daily life. Some of the most common applications include surgical and medical equipment, buildings, bridges, auto parts, aircrafts; and of course, cooking and kitchen applications.
Stainless steel is one of the safest materials in the kitchen along with glass, cast iron, wood, carbon steel, and ceramics.
2. Food Grade Stainless Steel
Food Grade Stainless Steel is the type of steel that is safe for cooking and has enough heat resistance to this end.
Because stainless steel alone is not able to achieve optimal heating; to manufacture high-quality cookware, chromium and nickel are added to the steel. Chromium is important to avoid rust from the acid in foods; while nickel protects against corrosion.
Steel is usually classified in grades with a two-number format. These grades indicate the amount of nickel and chromium that has been added to the steel to make it food-safe.
For example, one of the most common grades is 18/10: this means 18% chromium and 10% nickel. A higher amount of nickel means better rust resistance and will hold polish for longer.
18/8 and 18/10 are the two most common grades of stainless steel used for food and kitchen (cookware, flatware, etc.) and they are part of the 300 series. The 400 series has less nickel (therefore is not very good rust-resistant) and it’s magnetic. The 200 series is still food-safe; but not as high-quality.
High-quality stainless steel cookware is also usually equipped with a tri-ply construction. The ply refers to layers of metal at the bottom of a product (a pot or a pan). These layers are usually steel and aluminum.
3. Benefits Of Using Stainless Steel Cookware
In addition to looking pretty and shiny in your kitchen, high-quality stainless steel cookware has many other advantages that justify its extensive use in the food and dining industry.
So yes, stainless steel has been said to be indestructible. Cookware will not chip, bend or warp. You can pass on your stainless steel cookware set to the next generation in your family.
Highly resistant to corrosion, rust, and acids found in meats, dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
A healthy material
Food grade stainless steel is safe, non-toxic, does not contain or release hazardous chemicals, and is also easily disinfected.
Chromium (the main ingredient in stainless steel) is the hardest metal known to man. Nothing will leak through its hard surface.
Distribution of heat
Indeed, stainless steel is not exactly a great conductor of heat, especially when compared to other metals. But high-quality cookware made of this material usually includes internal layers with aluminum core or copper for fast, even distribution of heat.
Low maintenance and easy to clean
A soft sponge and a mild solution will do the trick in most cases. In theory, they are also dishwasher safe (although not recommended). If food happens to stick (which is one of the few issues with steel cookware) read our recommendations in point #5.
Stainless steel cookware is much lighter than other kitchen materials like cast iron, for example.
The polished finish is elegant and fits easily in any kitchen, in any décor, from the most traditional to the avant-garde; and inspires everyone to feel like a professional chef.
Steel is the most recycled material on the planet. It is 1oo% possible to recycle stainless steel cookware, and as this metal is indelible it will still retain qualities such as strength, hardness, and malleability after recycling.
A smart investment
Stainless steel cookware comes in all kinds of reasonable prices and because it’s super durable, we’re probably talking about a one-time purchase.
Recommended by the experts
Not only cooks and chefs; also nutritionists, scientists, and environmentalists advertise the many benefits and advantages of stainless steel.
4. What To Look For When Buying Stainless Steel Cookware
We recommend a grade of 18/10 or higher. As we mentioned before, the number indicates the percentage of chromium; the higher this number, the more durable and resistant it will be. Grade 304 stainless steel works great for everyday use in the kitchen.
Stainless steel cookware that has 3, 5, or even 7 layers of coating (usually including an aluminum core or copper) will retain and conduct heat better and your food will cook evenly.
The heavier, the better: that is the general rule. Weight usually means a higher construction quality; but it also contributes to the overall feel of the pot or pan in your hand, giving you a firm grip and preventing it from moving on the stove.
You want handles that won’t get too warm during cooking. Ergonomically designed handles are also a valuable pro.
Are you getting all the pieces you need in your kitchen? Are you buying more than you need, when a better product may be more versatile? or quite the opposite, you’re getting one fry pan, when you should be looking at a suitable stainless steel cookware set?
Often overlooked, but we don’t think of it as a minor detail. Lids should be included in your purchase. Most commonly you’ll have two options: Glass and metal. Glass lids are not as good at handling heat as the metal ones; but they do allow you to look at your food while cooking, which is a nice possibility.
Stainless steel cookware comes in a wide variety of prices. As long as you’re paying attention to all the points above; don’t let price be an indicator of which one is better than the other. A small tip: sometimes buying the whole stainless steel cookware set can be cheaper than buying each item.
5. How Do I Make A Stainless Steel Pan Non-Stick?
One of the most common concerns about stainless steel cookware is that stainless steel does not have the same nonstick properties as other materials. The thought of your morning eggs sticking to your shiny, new pan and having to deal with that afterward, may be unsettling.
But there are a few things that you can do to avoid food from sticking to your pan. And none of them is difficult, expensive, or challenging in any way.
If you follow these recommendations, any pan can be a nonstick pan, including stainless steel:
- Always preheat your pan over medium heat.
- Add a proper amount of oil or fat.
- Don’t throw in the food until you’re sure the pan has reached the desired temperature. You can splash a few drops of water, if they vaporize immediately, then you can add food.
- Dry your proteins well before putting them in the pan.
- Bring foods to room temperature before cooking because. The cooler they are, the more likely they are to stick.
- Salt should be added just before the pan.
- Cook foods in batches according to the size of the pan. If there’s too much, the temperature decreases, moisture is released and food will most definitely stick.
There is also the theory that you can season your stainless steel cookware to make it nonstick cookware. If you’re curious, read on!
6. How To Season Stainless Steel Cookware
First, we should clear something up: seasoning stainless steel cookware is entirely optional. Unlike cast iron, for example, you can choose to do it; but you don’t necessarily have to.
Still, many chefs and cooks opt for seasoning their steel stainless steel pots and pans. The reason is that this process may help stainless steel become somewhat nonstick; although to be fair, this hasn’t been confirmed.
If you’re a believer, then check out this article explaining how to season stainless steel cookware.
The process goes something like this:
- Wash your pan. Then dry completely.
- Oil your pan over medium heat. Distribute well with the help of a paper towel.
- When the pan gets hot, it will smoke. Remove it from the stovetop at this point.
- Let it cool and then remove the oil with another towel or a cloth.
You can season your pan as many times as you consider appropriate.
7. How To Clean Stainless Steel Cookware
Cleaning your stainless steel cookware is very easy and you can use things that you probably already have, like soap, vinegar, baking soda, and oil. More alternative methods include tomato sauce or even cream of tartar (reportedly chef's favorite method).
For a quick clean-up: boil one cup of vinegar in your pan, then turn off and add baking soda. It will foam. Let it cool just a bit, but while it’s still warm, rub with a soft sponge.
The one thing to remember is to never use an abrasive sponge (like steel wool) or you could damage the surface. The dishwasher can also do a lot of damage. You can look at the different methods and techniques for cleaning stainless steel cookware in this article.
Extra: How to remove rust from stainless steel
Mix water and baking soda to create a thick paste. Spread over your previously cleaned stainless steel surface. Let sit for about an hour and then rub the rusted area with a toothbrush. Rinse using only water and dry completely. Or… use Dalstrong rust eraser for an even easier, modern solution.
Remember the dishwasher is one of the main causes of stainless steel rust and corrosion, it has the fatal “corrosion” mix: moisture, salt, chemical, and heat.
The details of these methods as well as other alternative methods here.
8. Stainless Steel Cookware Recommendations
Currently, Dalstrong offers two series of stainless steel cookware: The Oberon Series and the Avalon Series.
The Oberon Series features an aluminum core that is light and conductive and allows for more even heating throughout the pan. The Avalon Series, on the other side, offers a copper core. Copper is even lighter and thinner than Aluminum with the same advantages.
Each series offers great individual items and their own stainless steel cookware set, covering almost every need. But we managed to pick a non-exclusive selection from both, as a start.
1. Dalstrong 10" Frying Pan & Skillet from the Oberon Series
Beautiful design and functionality that empowers whoever cooks in it. This isn’t just another aluminum pan. The full coating with additional layers of 18/10 food-grade stainless steel gives it high resistance to corrosion and high temperatures.
It cooks perfectly from large portions of protein to the most tender tortillas. Built to last a lifetime.
- Perfect thermal conductivity thanks to the 3-ply aluminum core.
- The brushed finish at the bottom makes it suitable for gas, electric, and induction cooktop.
- With a thickness of 2.5 mm, it will not warp under prolonged heat.
- The tempered glass lid is thick and allows you to see through it the entire cooking process. It also has a vent hole to release pressure.
- It has a safe, comfortable, and maneuverable handle, as well as an engraved side handle for better distribution of weight.
- Dishwasher safe (although not recommended).
- You can buy a stainless steel pan for less, it’s true. But you could also buy it for more, especially considering the quality.
- Some may prefer the standard size of 12 inches for a skillet.
2. Dalstrong 6 Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set from the Oberon Series
The essential cookware set with just the right pieces you need every day for frying, sautéing, roasting, steaming, boiling, and more.
The 9" skillet is your guy for frying all your guilty pleasures, a 12" skillet is meant for sautéing all those fancy recipes; and a 5-quart pot is ideal for preparing soups, stews, pasta, and many slower dishes.
High performance, medium-weight, and versatility. This cookware set is made of premium quality 18/10 non-reactive stainless steel; as well as a 3-layer aluminum-coated core that ensures fast heating and even cooking every time you use it.
- All pieces come with their respective perfect-fitting lids.
- The pots and pans in this stainless steel cookware set can be used on the stovetop, oven, or grill; so you can go from stovetop to oven with no problem.
- Handles are firm and safe.
- Aluminum, nonstick rivets that won’t loosen, break, or rust.
- Made with non-toxic materials.
- Beautiful, classic stainless steel silver design that adapts to all styles.
- Dishwasher safe (but we insist, it’s better to use a softer method).
- You may need time to get used to the shape of the handles that come in this cookware set (as opposed to a more classical, roundish one).
- Speaking of handles: this cookware set comes with stainless steel handles (as most professional chefs prefer) because they are meant to be versatile and be used in the oven as well as the stove. The downside is, when subject to high oven temperatures, you need to be careful with the handle warmth.
- You might want to go bigger: check out the Oberon 12-Piece Cookware Set.
3. Dalstrong 12 Quart Stockpot from the Oberon Series
A large stockpot with ideal capacity. In addition to being beautiful, sturdy, and durable, this 18/10 stainless steel stockpot also features a 3-ply Aluminum-core for efficient and fast heat retention, ensuring optimal results.
- Refrigerator safe: Freeze it with meals and then reheat it in the pan itself.
- Tempered glass lid.
- Measuring lines inside.
- It comes with a silk carrying bag for protection during transport.
- It’s a great alternative to a saucepan.
- Dishwasher safe.
- It is a large pot that requires some storage space. Consider your available kitchen space.
- The 2.5 mm thickness may feel heavy to some.
4. Dalstrong 12" Sauté Frying Pan (Hammered Finish Silver) from the Avalon Series
You need a saute pan in your kitchen and this frying pan is almost a luxury piece. Design meets functionality to achieve top performance for a lifetime. The 5-ply copper foundation makes this saute pan the best of its kind: superior thermal conductivity, fast heating, and even cooking of any recipe.
- Suitable for browning, sautéing, stewing, frying, boiling, cooking, and even baking!
- Compatible with all cooktops, including induction cooktops.
- It does not alter the nutritional value, taste, smell, or color of food.
- Free of PFOA and PTFE (it is not toxic)
- Lifetime warranty
- Dishwasher safe (although not recommended)
- It has a stainless steel lid, not transparent. Some like to see their food. It does come with a vented hole and a beautiful knob with the Dalstrong insignia.
- Depending on what you normally cook and how you like your cooking, it may be scary to use nonstick cookware from the start.
5. Dalstrong 6-Piece Stainless Steel Cookware Set from the Avalon Series
I’m personally a fan of the looks in the Avalon series. It’s difficult to innovate in aesthetic design when it comes to stainless steel cutlery, yet Dalstrong managed to do it gracefully, and this stainless steel cookware set is the proof.
But you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, of course not. Judge it by the clever choice in materials, the quality in manufacturing, maximum heat conductivity, and lifetime durability.
- Beautiful, solid, and easy to clean.
- The construction with a copper core foundation, 18/10 stainless steel, and aluminum to provide 5 times better heat distribution than iron cookware and 20 times better than plain stainless steel cookware.
- Environmentally friendly: it needs less gas or energy to reach high temperatures in a shorter time.
- The added aluminum will protect against stains and potential sticking of foods.
- The stainless steel cookware set has a beautiful hammered design that adds luxury and elegance to your kitchen.
- The price of the stainless steel cookware set may be the only downside. When you look at the quality, you understand; but still, it may exceed some budgets.
- Depending on what kind of cook you are or want to be; it may feel like too much for an entry-level cookware set.
- Some may argue this cookware set does not cover all their needs. Luckily, there’s a 12-piece cookware set from the same series.
9. Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make eggs in a stainless steel skillet?
Absolutely. Just watch out for a medium temperature before adding the eggs (not too hot, not too cool) and enough fat on the surface.
What is the healthiest stainless steel cookware?
316 and 304 are recognized as the safest grades of stainless steel for food and cooking.
Does Stainless Steel Rust?
In the kitchen, a few factors like moisture, dish detergents, food acids, extreme temperatures, frequent use of the dishwasher, salt, and damage to the chromium can cause your stainless steel cookware to rust.
What is the best oil to season a stainless steel pan?
Peanut oil, vegetable oil, and grapeseed oil are great options because they have a high smoke point. Avoid coconut oil, canola oil, and olive oil.
What’s the difference between stainless steel and nonstick cookware?
Nonstick cookware has a coating that prevents food from sticking, and they’re easy to clean afterward. However, there are concerns about the chemicals and toxicity of nonstick surfaces. Also, stainless steel pans work much better for searing and browning.
What’s the difference between stainless steel and cast iron cookware?
They both offer similar advantages; but cast iron is considerably heavy and requires extra effort in terms of moving, cleaning, and storage.
What’s the difference between stainless steel and ceramic cookware?
Stainless steel can take higher temperatures than ceramic. Stainless steel also has a longer lifespan and it’s easier to maintain.
Do you need a stainless steel cookware set?
If you are thinking about getting a cookware set, stainless steel is a great option. A good stainless steel cookware set is likely to be cheaper than other materials and still offer the same quality, efficiency, and looks.
What is the best Dalstrong stainless steel cookware set?
Dalstrong offers four options for a stainless steel cookware set and they all offer great features and advantages.
Should you buy a stainless steel saucepan too?
Stainless steel pans are invaluable. Another area in which stainless steel reigns supreme is the making of gravy and pan sauces, an essential part of some dishes. If you're making a lot of sauces, a saucepan would be a great buy.
Can a Dutch oven be stainless steel?
A classic Dutch oven is made of cast iron, but some manufacturers use stainless steel too.
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Written by Eva ContrerasFood & travel writer based in Buenos Aires. Superpowers include relentless curiosity and high tolerance to spicy foods.